KETTERING, Ohio – Helen Alfredsson’s most recent competition came last year at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, and yet, she finds herself leading the way at NCR Country Club. Alfredsson, 57, chalks it up to yoga, a strong core and the way she learned to play the game. While the 2019 Senior Women’s Open champion said she wouldn’t compare herself to Tiger Woods in any way, she can appreciate his ability to perform after long periods away from competition.
“It’s his physical abilities,” she said. “He knows where to hit it, what shots to hit, and I think we grew up in an era that we learned to play golf. We were not just hitting shot after shot after shot and trying to have a perfect golf swing, because obviously, I’ve never claimed to have one.”
Alfredsson’s back-to-back rounds of 70 put her one stroke ahead of Senior Women’s Open rookie Leta Lindley, who briefly held a two-stroke lead but dropped a couple strokes coming in. Lindley, 50, still plays with six woods in her bag and put the old putter she used to win the 2008 Corning Classic back in the bag this week.
“Our Florida greens get a little furry in the summer,” said Lindley, who works as a teaching pro, “so I’ve been really working hard the last couple weeks to work on my stroke and get it back to where I feel like it was when I was playing in 2012, and really trying to lengthen it out like you need to, to have nice tempo on these fast greens.”
Annika Sorenstam, Lindley’s freshman roommate at Arizona, sits three shots back after a second-round 70. Sorenstam, of course, won this event last year in her debut.
When asked what she remembered about meeting Lindley for the first time in college, Sorenstam said she came from Sweden with two suitcases and a golf bag while Lindley came to campus with a U-Haul.
Lindley said the U-Haul is a bit of an exaggeration, but she did remember taking Sorenstam to Target to get bedsheets and pillows.
“Yes, I think that’s like when the fish gets bigger,” Lindley said with a laugh.
Juli Inkster, twice a runner-up in this championship, birdied five holes in a row before getting derailed with a triple-bogey on the par-5 sixth. She trails by seven.
Hollis Stacy, 68, made the cut for the fourth time in this event. A total of 52 players will play the weekend, including Amy Alcott, who carded a pair of 76s to hold a share of 23rd.
Six amateurs made the cut.
JoAnne Carner, 83, shot her age for a second consecutive day but will not play the weekend. Carner, who holds the record among women with eight USGA titles, said this will be her final USGA championship appearance.
“I’ve enjoyed everything about it,” she said, “even my bad golf. I mean, I was trying just like in the old days, only it really just wasn’t there.”